The union and the Seafarers Plans are continuing to work with Comprehensive Health Services (CHS) to identify and implement improvements in services for SIU members.
In mid-November, the union and Seafarers Plans hosted a meeting at SIU headquarters that included the CHS CEO and their program manager for the Seafarers Health and Benefit Plan. Attendees thoroughly discussed ways to speed up the physical exam steps used by SIU members. Seafarers Plans Administrator Maggie Bowen, in her December report to the SIU membership, noted, “We met with them to reiterate the seriousness of the problems our participants have been facing during the exam process. They once again committed to providing the quality of service that you need and deserve. CHS indicated that they are in the process of upgrading their technology to make the communication and flow of information between them and the clinics a more seamless process. These major upgrades are due to take place during second quarter of 2022. They are also developing new surveys to identify areas that continue to need improvement. We will monitor their progress in all areas to ensure that they deliver on their promises, and will keep you posted on the outcomes.”
In a previous report, Bowen said CHS had eliminated most of its backlog of exams that were awaiting review through mid-September. That improvement “is a direct result of our demand that more resources were required to fulfill our agreement with CHS, including adding additional doctors,” she stated.
Meanwhile, the administrator in the December report also mentioned that multiple mailings were sent to SHBP participants in November. They included a cover letter and notice outlining the positive changes to the SHBP due to the No Surprises Act. The changes include out-of-network emergency treatment being covered at the 90% in-network levels; out-of-network ancillary services at an in-network facility (such as an anesthesiologist, radiologist or surgeon) will be covered at 90% of the qualifying payment amount; and, out-of-network air ambulance service will be covered at 90% of the qualifying payment amount.